“I think Donald Trump would be best for the job.”
The Imperial Wizard of the Rebel Brigade Knights of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK) in Virginia said the group is no longer a hate group, despite being one of 32 active groups in the state identified by the Southern Law Poverty Center (SPLC), a nonprofit responsible for tracking, analyzing, and categorizing hate groups and extremist outfits.
The SPLC has been insisting over the past two years that there has been an “explosive rise” in the number of hate groups nationwide, including dozens of new organizations in Virginia. In an act of daring reporting, Chris Thomas of local NBC affiliate WWBT sat down with the Imperial Wizard for the Rebel Brigade, who refused to give his name, agreeing to an unabridged interview on “his turf.”
Thomas and his photographer (along with an unmarked police vehicle for safety) went deep into Jefferson National Forest, where they were greeted by men wearing shirts reading “Straight out of Dixie” and “the original boys in the hood.”
“Does the KKK hate? Is it a hate group?” Thomas asked the Imperial Wizard.
“No, we are not a hate group. We hate no one,” the Wizard replied.
“You don’t hate blacks?” said Thomas.
“No,” he replied.
After a little while longer, the conversation drifted to America’s modern civil rights movement, where activists have begun highlighting the persistent racism directed towards black Americans, and pushing effectively for systemic change.
“Society today is more racial than we are!” exclaimed the Imperial Wizard, turning his attention towards recent debates held over the symbolism of the Confederate Flag.
“This flag right here is the Confederate Battle Flag. This is not the flag of the Ku Klux Klan” he said, “This all started over a little punk thug who went in a church and murdered a bunch of innocent people. That was wrong,” referring to Dylan Roof, whose attack on the Emmanuel AME Church was the deadliest attack on a black community in more than eighty years.
“He was a Nazi-Skin Head,” said the Imperial Wizard. “Neo-Nazis and Skin Heads are socialist. We are not socialist. We are patriotic American citizens standing up for our God family and country. We are not white supremacists. We are white separatists. We choose to stay within our own race. We not the big bad hate group that everybody thinks we are. A lot of people, as soon as they hear the words Ku Klux Klan, their mind automatically goes back to the 50s and 60s. It was a pretty bad time, but that was the 1950s and 60s. We are living in a different century now.”
Speaking on President Obama he said, “He has been a very good recruiting tool for our organization. And it’s not because he’s black. We are more political than racial.”
When the conversation finally turned to the upcoming presidential election, the wizard said “I think Donald Trump would be best for the job. The reason a lot of Klan members like Donald Trump is because a lot of what he believes in, we believe in.”
Watch the full interview and analysis here: